Visits to temples and Lingayat mutts peppered the last day of Rahul Gandhi’s tour of the Mumbai-Karnataka region.

At roadside interactions and public meetings, the Congress President carried on from previous days, extensively quoting Basavanna — the 12th century social reformer that the Lingayat community reveres — to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul began his day meeting district chiefs of the Congress, and block presidents of Belagavi, Bijapur and Bagalkot, after which he headed to Godachi village, to pray at the Sri Veerbhadreshwara Temple.

The temple is a well-known Hindu shrine, which has a predominantly Lingayat following in the districts of Bagalkot, Belagavi and Dharwad.

The Congress chief then addressed a huge public rally at Ramdurga and Saundatti before praying at Sri Renuka Yellamma Temple.

Yellamma is an ancient temple linked to Lord Parasurama, and is revered by people of all faiths.

From Saundatti, Rahul headed to Dharwad, where he was greeted by a packed public reception. He visited the Sri Muraga Mutt, also a prominent Lingayat shrine, and later interacted with students of the Jnana Vihar, where BR Ambedkar would often visit and teach.

The Congress leader later addressed well-attended road-side receptions en route to Hubbali. He also drew huge crowds in the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad, which are considered BJP bastions.

At Hubballi, he addressed a mammoth crowd and later visited the over-175-year-old Siddhrudha Mutt.

Rahul later prayed at the Hazrat Sayed Fathe Shah Wali Dargah and the Basel Mission Church in Hubballi to wind up his three-day Mumbai-Karnataka tour.

Taunts Modi

Rahul took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging the Mahadayi river issue between Karnataka and Goa.

“It is a drinking water issue of the northern Karnataka districts. It is a decade-long old issue. One cannot drag it for as long as he [Modi] wishes.”

Instead of displaying silence on a burning issue, the PM should call for an emergency meeting of the three States — Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra — to settle the issue, Rahul said.